By Marquis Cooley | Reporter
Every professional sport has their superstars with the NBA arguably having the most notable with players such as LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant being recognized all over the world.
But for every NBA star whose highlights are posted all over social media and national television, there’s another player who fans feel doesn’t get the credit they deserve. These players are deemed “underrated”.
In sports, “underrated” is a term used to describe players that don’t get the awards and recognition fans feel they deserve. In the NBA, when talk of underrated players comes up, fans, media and NBA players typically say the same few names: Bradley Beal, Jrue Holiday and Kemba Walker. But if everyone agrees that these players are underrated, can they really be considered underrated?
Anyone who watches the NBA has heard of Bradley Beal. That alone should eliminate him from being considered underrated. Beal began being classified as underrated last season when he wasn’t selected for the all-star game. There is an argument he deserved to be included, but there’s an argument that everyone that made it deserved it as well.
Beal has made the all-star game twice and will probably make it again this year. While he has never been on an All-NBA team, he’s also never been the best player at his position. He’s been a very good player on a very bad team, and in the NBA, you must be on a good team to win the awards.
Kemba Walker is another well known player among people that watch the NBA, so he should automatically be disqualified from underrated conversations as well. Walker has been a household name since his college days at the University of Connecticut, where he gained the nickname “Cardiac Kemba”. How can a guy with a nickname be underrated?
He has made the NBA all-star game four years in a row and even made an All-NBA team. Walker is a very good player and one of my personal favorites, but he’s not as good as Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving who have both won championships, therefore he won’t get the same recognition as them.
Lastly, the most frequent player mentioned as “underrated” is Jrue Holiday and rightfully so … if it was 2016. Holiday is one of the best defenders in the NBA and has been for a few seasons.
There was a time when Holiday played well and was under everyone’s radar, but that isn’t the case anymore. In the past three seasons, Holiday has made two All-NBA defensive teams and barely missed out on a third one last season.
Players across the NBA view Holiday as the best perimeter defender even though he has never won a Defensive Player of the Year award, the reason being that award is rigged for big men, not because Holiday is underrated.
While those players aren’t underrated, there are some NBA players that are truly underrated and deserve more attention, such as Collin Sexton, who outside of his 42-point performance against the Brooklyn Nets this season, hasn’t received any national media attention in his three years in the league.
Sexton would’ve been left out of the Rising Stars game last season had it not been for injuries to both Wendell Carter Jr. and Tyler Herro, despite being third in scoring among all eligible players, behind only all-stars Trae Young and Luka Doncic.
Another underrated player is Gordon Hayward who, in his 11th season, is playing the best basketball of his career and is the best player on the Charlotte Hornets. However, all anyone ever talks about when mentioning the Hornets is rookie teammate LaMelo Ball.
Other truly underrated players include John Collins, Jerami Grant and Christian Wood, all of which are playing good basketball, yet most fans have never even heard of them because they aren’t receiving any national media attention. NBA fans as a whole need to rethink what players are truly underrated in the league.